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About Us

Founded in 1978, the Northeast Kansas Amateur Astronomers’ League Inc. is made up of amateur astronomers from around the area. Members come in all ages and all expertise levels, from “beginner” to “practically a pro”.

What We Do

NEKAAL members observe, draw, photograph, document, discover and enjoy astronomy. We have given hundreds of educational presentations, had articles published in scientific journals, participated in projects of research and discovery, and have introduced hundreds of people to the wonders of the night sky through “Star Parties” at Farpoint Observatory and across the area.


NEKAAL owns and operates Farpoint Observatory, located on the grounds of Mission Valley High School approximately 30 miles southwest of Topeka, Kansas.

NEKAAL, Inc. is an educational and scientific nonprofit corporation approved by the federal and Kansas state governments. Our FEIN number is 48-1068689.

NEKAAL is a member society of the International Dark Sky Association, the Night Sky Network and the Astronomical League.

NEKAAL Officers

Officers 2017
President Russell Valentine
Vice President Justin Prochaska
Secretary Janelle Burgardt
Chair Janelle Burgardt
Treasurer Paige Caudle
Bruce Caler Gary Hug Dr. Edwin Woerner
David Cromer Carolyn Kaberline
Roger Heaton Brandy Whitten
Support Positions
Education/Outreach Coordinator Janelle Burgardt
Facilities/Observatory Coordinator Gary Hug

Russell Valentine
Board Position: President
Ocupation: IT, Agriculture
Astronomy Interests: Visual observing and the applications of mathematics, electronic engineering, and physics into the field of astronomy.
Favorite observing targets: Veil Nebula, Milky Way

Justin Prochaska
Board Position: Vice President
Occupation: Electronics Tech 1 @ Northrop Grumman
Astronomy interest: Galaxies, Moon, and Planetary Bodies, Nebula's
Favorite observing object: Jupiter and Saturn

Janelle Burgardt
Board Position: Secretary, Board Chair
Occupation: computer security specialist
Astronomy interests: Astronomy education; working with novice astronomers, especially visual and binocular observing; mythology of astronomy
Favorite observing targets: star clusters, moon

Paige Caudle
Board Position: Treasurer
Occupation: Senior Accountant
Astronomy interest: this history of astronomy, reading articles on new discoveries
Favorite observing object: Orion, Milky Way, and Jupiter

 Bruce Caler Bruce Caler
Board Position: Member
Astronomy interest:
Favorite observing object:

 David Cromer David Cromer
Board Position: Member
Occupation: Principal - Mission Valley High School
Astronomy interest: Everything
Favorite observing object: Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, NEOs

Roger Heaton
Board Position: Member
Astronomy interest:
Favorite observing object:

Gary Hug
Board Position: Member
Occupation: Machinist
Astronomy interest: astrometry of asteroids and comets especially Near Earth Objects, imaging galaxy clusters, telescope and astronomical equipment fabrication.

Carolyn Kaberline
Board Position: Member
Occupation: Language arts and social studies teacher at Mater Dei Catholic School and freelance writer.
Astronomy interest: legends and mythology associated with astronomy, would like to learn how to photograph some celestial objects
Favorite observing object: the planets and their satellites

Brandy Whitten
Board Position: Member
Astronomy interest:
Favorite observing object:

Dr. Edwin Woerner
Board Position: Member
Astronomy interest:
Favorite observing object: